Michael Hopping

MHopping headshotMichael Hopping lives near Asheville, North Carolina. In a former life he was a practicing psychiatrist and medical director for a community mental health center. In search of less industrialized approaches to coping with today’s world, he eventually left the field. His short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Spoiled Ink, The Great Smokies Review, fresh, and the Mad Hatters’ Review blog. His novel, Meet Me In Paradise, was published in 2007, and Pisgah Press released his collection of stories, MacTiernan’s Bottle, in December 2012. Since 2003 Michael has also been an investigative reporter, features writer, and occasional commentator for Asheville’s alternative monthly newspaper, The Indie. His website is http://www.michaelhopping.com/

Now on sale everywhere!


rhythms front cover only for webrhythms on a flaming drum

In Michael Hopping’s darkly envisioned America, corporate control has proceeded apace. Political resistance has been outlawed, and activists who seek progressive change are considered enemies of the free market state. It is an America that could happen tomorrow—or may already be in place.

Caitlin Schmidt, a young woman of privilege, has chosen to defy the powers that be. She and others in the Digger resistance work to build an alternative society in the shadow of the free market. They also support a local campaign against Palomar Coatings, a company whose wastewater discharges are blamed for polluting the municipal water supply. One prominent protester is disappeared by the secret police of the Internal Security Authority and dies in custody. That’s only the start of an increasingly dangerous battle between activists and Palomar supporters, which include the secret police, mainstream media, citizens worried about jobs, and a violent white supremacist group known as The Brotherhood of the Fiery Sword.

Caitlin’s lover, Xan Hicks, doesn’t consider himself an activist, but that doesn’t mean he’s passive. Years earlier, in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake, he’d attempted to rescue a friend from the rubble of a Memphis hotel. Failing that, he did manage to bring another man and his two little girls to safety. Unfortunately for Xan, cable news was waiting when they emerged from the wreckage, and since that night he has been in hiding from his fifteen minutes of fame. Now, he fears for Caitlin’s safety and begs her to leave politics alone, before it’s too late.

With uncanny prescience and nuanced story, Hopping deftly crafts the convoluted personal and political relationships in a disturbingly familiar world….

Clare Hanrahan, author, Conscience & Consequence: A Prison Memoir

Absolutely first-rate. The plot is gripping, not to say frightening. It is chillingly close to reality.

Sarah-Ann Smith, author, Trang Sen: A Novel of Vietnam

rhythms on a flaming drum is available now, online and through your local bookstore!

MacTiernan’s Bottle

mactiernan-coverThe renovation of a backwoods motel reveals a previously unknown and powerful fresco, apparently concealed by the artist who created it. A young man, unsure about his own artistic career, asks himself why. In pursuit of an answer, Clayton stumbles across questions about himself he’s never thought to ask.

The other protagonists in this richly told collection of short stories could well sympathize with Clayton. Some struggle with idealism, others with innocence or what constitutes a healthy family, or such subjects as the dawn of premeditation, the function of art, estrangement from themselves, and whether it’s really possible to be selfless and in love.

Often humorous and always thought-provoking, MacTiernan’s Bottle invites readers to dive into the worlds that Hopping has created and discover the lives of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Like a garden in perpetual bloom, these are stories to revisit again and again.

Praise from writers

Hopping’s characters range from old men to young women, and landscapes as diverse as an Ozark cave, a sleigh in Russia and a cramped airplane seat. He convinced me that his characters had not just life, but souls.

-Cheryl Dietrich, author, In Formation: Twenty Years Squeezing
into an Air Force Unif
orm (due in 2012)

Images glide on the surface tension of thought. Textures and feelings are rendered in bright realism, yet, as we spend our few minutes of incarnation in the surface light, we are constantly reminded of the astonishing blackness beneath, where our stories are born.

-William Henry Price, artist and poet

You pick up MacTiernan’s Bottle for the pleasure of story. You linger for the beauty of language and the authority of narrative voice. You marvel at the cast of characters, who run the gamut from quirky to grave. Then, affectionately cursing the author, you think. And you think some more. In a literary world fraught with the flashy and the forgettable, you find the
mother lode: thirteen stories that linger in your mind.

-Elizabeth Lutyens, Editor, The Great Smokies Review

I’m at page 30 and cursing the urge to finish the whole bloody thing.

-Danny Ellis, singer-songwriter and author, 800 Voices